Olean, Revisited!

As I was taking pictures of the various squirrels, I couldn’t help but become enamoured by this little city of Olean!

Years ago, I met two sisters at church camp who were from Olean. I remember visiting and spending the night at their house. I think I was about 12 when I met them, and believe it or not, one of the sisters *still* sends a Christmas card every year! (I will only say that it was many, many years ago that we met!!!) I don’t remember much about Olean from that visit, but in looking at it again, it sure is a beautiful place!

I took several pictures of Lincoln Park.

Although this compact park encompasses only one small city block, it is chock full of wonderful commemorative statues and beautiful settings! What a wonderful place to visit on a warm sunny day!

This large rock commemorates the Revolutionary Soldier who founded the town of Olean in 1804.

I wish I could have gotten an aerial shot of this particular statue. It is so beautiful, and the floral planting you see at the base is actually in the form of a star. I did photograph all four sides, as each side has an engraven message. I am hoping each of these photos will enlarge when clicked on….

A statue in memory of the GAR…Grand Army of the Republic.

I discovered this park while photographing the “Squirrels”…..this is a LIVE squirrel enjoying a peanut a kind soul left for him on the “Freedom of Speech” bench in the park!

This pretty little pathway leads up to a “prehistoric” rock that was placed in the bicentennial year of 2004 to commemorate the founding of the town.

This pastoral little gazebo concludes my tour of Lincoln Park, although there were more commemorative markers located there!

And, across from the park on one side was a pretty Episcopalian Church. What really caught my eye about this church, besides its beauty, was this stunning year-round nativity, which is carved from wood!

Although the Baby Jesus is missing in the manger, I do not recall ever seeing a “permanent” nativity before! Usually, they only appear at Christmas time, and then disappear throughout the rest of the year. This one is so sturdy, so solid….it would involve major production to remove it!

Across the street to the north is the city municipal building. On the side of the building is this gorgeous mosaic!

It seems that many downtown US cities have become run down as a result of more appealing malls being built on their outskirts. Parking is more convenient, and in inclimate weather, it is so much simpler to hop from store to store inside, rather than braving the elements. Olean has retained its small city charm, and it seems many businesses thrive there. There is a very small mall located farther north along this street. The business above is a restaurant. It seems to define the word “charm” with its beauty…..the flowerboxes located on the windows are abundant to the point of nearly overflowing!

There was so much more to see and photograph, but time was getting away from me, and we needed to begin our two hour trip back home. As it was, we returned home after 9 pm. What a great way to spend a Sunday!!

Olean, NY, Gone to the Squirrels?

Yesterday, we decided to meet my parents and brother in Olean, New York. My brother’s birthday is today, so we celebrated yesterday. Happy Birthday, Randy!

We accidentally took the wrong exit off the Southern Tier Expressway, ending up having to drive through the city. As we went through, I noticed “squirrels” placed throughout the city streets. After meeting my family for lunch, I told Mark and my family about the squirrels. At first, they thought I was “nuts”, but afterward, they all saw them, too!

Before we left the area, I needed to photograph these chipper little critters. In poking around on the web, I discovered these were being sponsored by area businesses, schools, and organizations to help raise money for the city’s Historical and Preservation Society. They are pretty cute, and certainly add a little pizazz to the streets!

I tried to upload these pictures last night, but for some reason, the network kept kicking me off, so I present them now! Without further ado, let me introduce the “Woodland in the City” creatures! (there are supposed to be 14 of the squirrels, but these are the most prominent ones that I found.) Too bad I didn’t have my computer to look up the info, as there are actually Google maps on where to find them!

*** please note: if you click on many of these pics, they will enarge to full size….IF you have any idea why ALL do not do that, PLEASE leave your thoughts in the comments!!! Greatly appreciated!”***

This little fellow is called “Sir Pennywise” an happens to be at home in front of Community Bank, NA

This brightly painted squirrel is deemed “Squirrelinksy”.

Starry Night Squirrel with Benjamin!

Decoupaged squirrel “Artour O’Quick”.

Care to guess this fellow’s name? If you said “Ronald McSquirrel”, you are 100 percent correct!

Yes, this is “Lady Justice”, complete with blindfold, and scales in hand, er…paw! She also is the most highly recognizable squirrel with her…..um, “pecs”?

“Country Folk Squirrel” is a pretty fellow painted black with a faux gold overwash. He had pretty country scenery (folk style, of course) painted on his back!

“Enchanted Mountain Squirrel” sits in the front lawn of a memorial (gravestone markers) business. He is amongst the cutest of all! He has an oak tree growing on his chest, and has features such as an acorn nose and chickadee eyes!!! Very colorful and I love the oak leaves all over his body!

“Olean Patriot” sits proudly in front of a wonderful old-fashioned hardware store. He is dressed in camoflauge, has decals decoupaged on his tail, honoring the four branches of armed services (Army, Marines, Air Force, and Navy) and is complete with part of the American flag on his tail!

So, there you have it, nine of the fourteen squirrels of Olean!

What Ever Happened to Relaxing Weekends?

Well, perhaps that isn’t the right question. Perhaps I should be asking why did I marry a man whose list of projects (far) surpasses my own? I used to tease that Mark would make a great project engineer, as, if the company he worked for ever ran out of jobs, he could invent a whole new list! I usually don’t mind extra activities, but sometimes I just want to do some things I want to do!

Ah well….Mark kept the kids busy today….not so much me!

I made a really great dinner with a recipe for a cauliflower side dish. It was really easy, and the result was a casserole that tasted very much like scalloped potatoes. Michelle can be picky, but she gave me kudos for the “best cauliflower, ever!” Ah, accolades every now and then are so rewarding, eh? The greatest reward was, however, an empty dish at dinner’s end!

I had planned to take a lot of pictures today, but it just didn’t happen….

So, here is one that is a bit blurry, but kind of cute……

See the tiny little chipmunk hiding in the weeds? You can see the stripes on its back on the left side of the picture, and a little black eye peering through the greenery!

This is one of the peonies in my front lawn. They need to be transplanted to a sunnier site, but I keep forgetting to do this! These peonies are really special, as my dad gave me the plants, and he got them from his mother, my grandmother. She passed away in 1972, so these plants always remind me of her. I waited all afternoon, until the sun was shining *just so* on this plant. The photo is just as I took it with no “doctoring”.

Tomorrow promises to be a bit easier, as we are traveling to meet my parents and brother, as it is my brother’s birthday on Monday! I love traveling in the truck, so I look forward to these days.

Happy Sunday to all!

Prettying Up the Bristolwood

Last night, we had to go out for a bit. We have been thinking we might want to replace our hot water heater when we redo the kitchen, as it is 15 years old. When we spoke to a serviceman, he told us that hot water heaters are one of those appliances that can go in about 10 years.(more or less) He also told us that when they do go, well, they usually leave their homeowners with a big mess! After having an icemaker fail a couple of years ago, I never want to see another flood in the house again!

While we were out last night, we decided to look at water heaters at Lowe’s. I saw that a water heater with a .8 rating would be eligible for a $300 tax credit, so I wanted to take a look at the tankless heaters. They run a little more expense wise, but save energy in the long run. They also are supposed to have a longer life than the tank models. Unfortunately, Lowe’s was a bust, as there was no literature and no one was around to talk about the water heaters.

As we were making our way to leave, I told Mark I would like to visit the garden center before we left. I used to always hang several baskets of flowers on the front porch for the summer; since Mark’s injury, I have been so busy with other things, I forget about flowers. So, as we looked around at all the colorful baskets and plantings, we decided to buy some.

This is a terrible picture, but the basket has Lobelia, tiny petunias, and a single Marigold!

I love Fushias so much, and these pink and white are my absolute favorite! I had seen a basket last week at Wegman’s, but at $19.99, I just didn’t think I could spend that much on a single basket. I am glad I waited, as Lowe’s were less. Even though the basket isn’t real huge, there are lots and lots of buds, so I know it will get bigger and fill out more.

Mark spotted this New Guinea Impatiens and I thought it was so pretty, too! Once again, this is small, but I know it will increase in size. Last year, I had one of these on the porch, and a silly Junco built a nest smack in the middle! I witheld water for weeks to the point where the thing looked so sorrowful….I actually blogged about it last summer!

I think these are Dianthus. It makes me upset when plants are sold without ID tags. I can never remember the instructions, so I leave the tags in a kitchen drawer until I figure them out! This little planter struck both Mark’s and my fancy. It is just so pretty and *happy* looking!

The one thing we left without was a fountain. I saw one that I had admired in the store last year. It is rather simple one , but Mark said we need to think on it some more. I would love to have a water feature so hummingbirds could enjoy it, as well as other birds!

After our Lowe’s experience, we stopped at Wegman’s so I could grab some fresh produce. This is where I always get ours, as they seem to have the freshest produce of all the stores. As Michelle and I walked toward the store, they had so many colorful flowers in front of the store.
I just *had* to take a look.

As we perused, there were signs saying their big hanging baskets were $9.99. The price marked on them was $19.99. I looked and looked…….

When I saw this basket, it *really* caught my eye! The bright yellow daisies were just so very outstanding! AND, this basket had a sign poked into it saying it was the lesser price! I hung it on the shopping cart and Michelle giggled as I shopped throughout the store, pushing the cart with my elbows locked straight out in front of me!

This basket is hung on a shepherd’s hook our neighbor fashioned for us a few years ago. It is bolted onto the back deck, and this big basket (almost 2 feet across!) is just so very perfect out there. The cheerful yellow flowers contrast so splendidly with the lush green hill behind the house!

Here is a closeup of the daisies. You can see how bright and beautiful they are!

This morning, as soon as my feet hit the floor, I raced downstairs and out the door. I stopped long enough to water all the new plants, then made my way to the garage. I was feeling rather smug about mowing the lawn before the sun came up! I had placed a latex glove on my hand with the injured finger so no dirt would get in.

I am a bit different in that no matter how hot I get, I do not sweat. Instead, my face glows an almost dangerous red color, and I feel overwhelmed by heat. (this is the reason why I am not fond of summer at all) Anyway, I think I may have discovered the secret to making myself sweat! When I completed the lawn, I anxiously removed the glove to discover my hand was so wet from sweat, it was dripping!!! Now, all I need is a latex *suit*!

This is a photo I took this afternoon of our cozy little porch, nestled snugly in the trees!

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made!

“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.” Psalm 139:14

Yes,, this is a picture of the self-inflicted knife wound on my finger! When I removed the (huge) gauze bandage this morning, I was so happy to see how well this has healed.

This is the side of my finger where the knife went in more deeply.

This morning was the first time I was able to look at the wound without *shaking*! I globbed on a bunch more Neosporin, put on a new bandaid (no more BIG bandages!!!) and sealed it shut with waterproof Nexcare tape.

As I looked at my finger, the scripture above came to mind. I mean, *what* has man created that self-heals (and so quickly, too!), remains as good as new, AND the fingerprints remain unchanged? Think about that…………

Is it Friday Yet?

No? Ugh. Friday cannot come soon enough this week! I need a vacation after our small vacation.

We arrived back home late on Monday afternoon. The kids were terrific about unloading the camper, and I am grateful for that. I stopped by the local Subway and bought subs for dinner, as I was whipped and making dinner just didn’t sound too appealing.

I got up bright and early on Tuesday morning, feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep. I swept down the stairs, barely feeling the treads under my feet. I went out on the front porch, admiring all the beautiful flowers that had come into bloom whilst we were away. Ah, life is so good….

I came back inside and without even complaining, began washing the mountains of dishes that had strangely appeared while I slept….Hmmmm. Then, *it* happenend. I never saw such a freakish thing in my life….

I went to grab for a glass that needed to be washed. As I did so, a brand-spanking new knife I had *just* removed from its sheath the night before *spun around*, bludgeoning its grand point right into the tip of my middle finger of my left hand. I stood there, dumbfounded. After coming back to my senses, I grabbed paper towels and began to place pressure on the dripping fingertip. I think I used about half of the roll before it finally slowed down a bit.

Mark taped the finger shut and this worked well. Then, after about two hours, I wondered if it would tear open again when the tape was removed. So, we bandaged it once again. Drip, drip…you get the picture!

This morning, the finger was finally sealed shut and I placed a new bandage on it, making sure it was first bathed in Neosporin. Now, I have this terrible bulbous bandage on the end of my finger, driving me nuts and making me yell when I bump it on anything!

So, feeling very sorry for myself, I set out this afternoon with my camera, thinking a little walk would soothe my *feelings* if not my poor finger!

So, since my photo of a purple Columbine was a hit on Wordless Wednesday, I took a picture of a Columbine.

And, a whole *bunch* of Columbines…….

And my waning blue Columbines………

My not-so-ordinary Columbines……

Wow! Look! My Begonia runneth over!

And Daddy Long Legs sitting atop a pretty Daisy!

As I walked in the woods, I was talking to Carly on the cell phone. Suddenly, something jumped up from the earthen floor……..

I took about 20 pictures of this little darling, but each picture was worse than the one before it. This was such a total disappointment……

Oh, and to end this on a more upbeat note….My clever UPS man, Bob, has *just* the idea for me! He suggested that before I place my hands into the kitchen sink to wash dishes, I don a pair of Kevlar gloves!!!!

Allegany Pictures

This is the Stone Tower located in the Red House area of Allegany State Park. Ben overheard someone saying this structure was built over 100 years ago as a lookout for fires in the mountains.

Inside the Stone Tower.

Steps leading to the top of the Stone Tower.

It was drizzly and wet when I took this picture from atop the tower, but one can see that on a clearer day, it is possible to see for miles and miles!

Another view from the tower with the sky brightening up a bit! Vision was still somewhat limited.

As I was entering into one of my daydreaming states, admiring the beautiful scenery, I was rudely snapped to reality by the kids…..imploring I take *just* one picture of them……

As Ninjas, fighting atop the tower….and I thought *I* was the one with the vivid imagination?

As we were readying to leave the park, Mark pulled over onto a flat parking lot to make and adjustment to the hitch of the camper. As he and Ben worked, I grabbed the camera to take just a few parting shots. The above photo is a little island located in the Red House Lake.

Michelle standing on a beautifu pier made from stone for people to fish on the lake.

And lastly, a beautiful covered bridge located on one of the many bike paths located in the park.

Good bye, Allegany State Park. I do believe we will be returning once again to visit this stunningly beautiful gem!

And All Good Things Must Come to an End…..

Saturday evening, my parents and brother came out to the camp for dinner and to enjoy a little time in the woods! It was a beautiful evening, and as always, food tasted so much better sitting outside next to a campfire!

Sunday, we decided to take a little shopping trip to Erie, Pennsylvania. Erie is another terrific place to visit, but we were there to shop, not to visit! I was in sorry need of some new summer clothing. I generally only buy three or four outfits for any given season, but I was down to one weary-looking sundress that really needed to be replaced. I washed it too many times!

I made out like a bandit! I had some money left on a Macy’s gift card and my mom happened to have a 20% off one day’s shopping there. After looking throughout the store, I was not impressed with the styles of clothing they had. As we passed by a clearance rack, however, I saw a sweater that caught my eye. Then, another sweater jacket, then a blouse! I was so happy to have some beautiful clothes for a fraction of *Macy’s* prices! They will be perfect to wear in the evening when it is cool.

After that, we hopped over to Value City. Wow! I hit the motherload….I found two really pretty sundresses as well as a couple of skirts and three blouses! Ben found a pair of Levi jeans and two nice dress shirts. As I went up to the register, I discovered that if I applied for a credit card, I could get 20% off. I did, and was totally amazed at the amount of clothing I purchased for only a bit more than $100!

After all of this strenuous shopping, we went to Presque Isle, and ate at an outdoors hamburger “joint” called Sara’s. This place is really hopping in the summer. Behind the restaurant, there is a large campground. What a busy place, and summer hasn’t officially started yet!

We looked around a bit more in a few stores, then headed off to my parents’ home. We stayed for a little bit, then were off to the campground. Rain began and fell all the way there, and continued thoughout the entire night. It was cool and felt so good!

This morning, we awakened and began to make ready for our trip home. Somehow it always seems so hard to get motivated to return home, even though responsibilities await us! All of the memories begin to play out in my mind, and I enter into dreamland, romanticizing about the “what-if’s”. And so, I began daydreaming about how the woman at the gift shop explained how people actually camp out in the rustic little cabins at Thanksgiving and Christmas time. She said people decorate with lights and the whole nine yards. Ah, what a fun experience that would be! It must be that tiny amount of Indian blood within me that draws me….I have always wished to live in a tiny little house in the middle of the woods….Not so sure how all of my “techno-stuff” would play into this, though!

I am going to post one more entry with some more pictures.